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Spain's federation confirms plans to shake up Spanish Super Cup and Copa del Rey

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Spain's federation confirms plans to shake up Spanish Super Cup and Copa del Rey
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Copa del Rey - Semi Final Second Leg - Real Madrid v FC Barcelona - Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain - February 27, 2019 Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen makes a save REUTERS/Juan Medina/File Photo   -   Copyright  Juan Medina(Reuters)
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MADRID (Reuters) – The Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) said on Tuesday it will organise a revamped Super Cup to take place outside of Spain from next January and revealed sweeping changes to the Copa del Rey which is set to reduce fixture congestion.

“The president of the RFEF, Luis Rubiales, told members at a board meeting today about the project we are working on to redesign the current formats of the Spanish Super Cup and the Copa del Rey,” said a statement on the federation’s website.

“With regards to the Super Cup, the RFEF will develop a ‘Final Four’ format for the tournament to take place outside of Spain in the month of January.

“The Copa del Rey will switch formats to single-game ties played at the ground of the weaker team until the semi-final stages.”

In February, Rubiales revealed plans to shake up the Super Cup, the season curtain raiser which pits the winners of La Liga against the Copa del Rey holders and is usually held over two legs, saying that the new-look event would take place in August.

The shifting of the tournament to January comes after the initial plans were criticised by La Liga’s organising body due to the potential for a scheduling conflict with the start of the new season.

Rubiales broke with tradition last year by turning the Super Cup into a single game played in Tangier, Morocco, where Barcelona beat Sevilla 2-1.

He opposes La Liga’s plans to play Spanish top flight games abroad and his organisation blocked a proposal to move last January’s game between Girona and Barcelona to Miami.

The RFEF has not yet revealed which country the revamped Super Cup will take place in.

The RFEF added that teams competing in the Super Cup will earn a bye to the last 32 of the Copa del Rey, with each tie apart from the semi-finals being played over one game at the ground of the smallest side.

The plans for both tournaments must be approved by clubs at an extraordinary general assembly taking place on April 29.

In its current format, La Liga sides enter the Copa del Rey in the round of 32, and this season’s finalists Barcelona and Valencia had to play eight games to reach the showpiece, clogging their schedules in January and February.

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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